Dodging a Storm

Evening all,

What a huge day I have had.  For some reason, I couldn't get to sleep at all until 4 am last night.  The boat was still sailing in light winds with a large swell so the sails were rocking from side to side crashing around and making a racket.  Nothing I did seemed to fix it.  I did however eventually shake the main sail out the first reef. 
This is the first time this whole trip that I have had that much main sail up.  I only did it once the winds dropped below 10 knots when I could easily have done it at 15 knots.  I am just trying so hard not to stress anything so as long as the boat is moving at an okay pace then I have so far been happy to leave the reefs in. 
Going 4 knots in 8 knots of wind though was just a little too hard so I bit the bullet and was very happy I did.  The winds remained light from the WSW through the night and most of the following day and the boat sailed happily along at 8 knots.

Given that I didn’t get to sleep until really late I tried to nap most of the morning away.  Finally, I got up and stuck in to the jobs around the boat by midday, however I didn’t feel that rested at all.  I knew that there was another storm on its way so I was in a mood of checking everything and running some repairs.  I also knew that I would be once again sailing up wind in this storm so I wanted to save my no2 jib and set the storm jib up for the first time this trip.  All shiny and new I left the sail all set and ready to go on the foredeck tied to the life lines waiting for some wind.
By the late afternoon the swell had also eased so I thought that this might be my opportunity to change out the wind generator blades.  I gathered up all the tools and climbed on deck just to stop in awe at the aggressively daunting clouds coming my way...

Just before the horizon the sky was choked full of towering black bellowing cumulus clouds and below them where the anvil time of horizontal clouds, aggressive and very dark threatening lots of wind...  I decided that the wind generator could wait in favour of putting another reef in.  As I started to put the second reef in the winds started to build to 20 knots and the enormous clouds that were so far away a second ago were almost right on tome of me.  I jumped from the 1st reef all the way down to the third reef expecting things to get interesting really soon.  I also hoisted the storm Jib and furled away the No 2 jib.

I watched this black wall approach expecting to get bullets of wind off the leading edge of the cloud system instead I was left wallowing in the swell with my storm jib up and my no 3 reef in the main sail which is a smaller size than my storm tri sail in 6 to 7 knots of wind...  AHHH.  I kept watching but nothing changed so I thought given how scary those clouds were looking I would just wait an hour and see if anything changes.

An hour later I was still sailing in no wind so I finally decided to shake back out the no 2 reef giving me a much greater surface area and I would at least make 5 knots in the light breeze.  Just as I was packing up the lines from shaking the reef out the rain started and the winds started to finally build...  Luckily it was only up to 25 knots and quickly dropped back to 20 knots so I was still quite happy to have the 2nd reef in but it was just so typical.  I had waited hours for the wind and finally gave up and what do you know?  The winds started....

So to keep with the correct storm strategy and to follow Bobs (METBob) very wise instructions I am now sailing in 23 knots of wind sailing SSW on a course of 200 True.  This puts the wind on my port side and I am effectively sailing out of the storm in the SE winds.  If I kept sailing NE I would have been sailing further in to the storm and I would have experienced 50 knots plus sailing up wind.  These conditions are fine when traveling with the wind but when you need to go against it in so much wind it just puts so much strain on the boat and sails. Now I will hopefully see nothing over 30 knots and sail out into cleaner water.  The swell is already starting to get choppy with a nasty cross swell that keeps slapping the bow and washing most of the boats speed off and I can only imagine that this will get worse through the night.

I finally came off the deck around 10pm after making sure everything is going alright and I have to admit I was feeling tired.  putting reefs in, shaking reefs out, tacking and gybing all in one day...  I had a hot meal of some pasta that I added some olives to in an effort to mix up the flavours and I have finally settled down to write this blog with the clocks flashing midnight so without further ado I believe my bed is calling for me...

Goodnight everyone.